Restaurant Week is upon us! This year the East Bay is mixing it up a bit for its annual offerings. For one, Alameda is launching its first ever Restaurant Week, taking place from Jan. 12 to 21. And while Oakland and Berkeley Restaurant Weeks usually coincide, this year, Oakland will go first, from Jan. 11 to 21, followed by Berkeley, from Jan. 18 to 28. We like the staggering, as Restaurant Week is a great opportunity to check out local restaurants in other parts of town, but also in neighboring cities.
As per usual, what is called a “week” during these events is actually 11 days (10 in the case of Alameda) and two weekends, to allow for diners to eat their way through all the deals that they can. Restaurants offer prix-fixe meals that are intended to give eaters a taste of their best offerings, sometimes at cheaper prices than their regular menus.
Oakland Restaurant Week 2018 has a diverse group of more than 100 participating restaurants from all over the city, and includes new features like pop-up events and walking food tours, and an official $10 price point offered by some restaurants at lunch. Alameda Restaurant Week is a little all over the place, in terms of pricing, with some deals as low as $10.95 and others going up to $45.
We’ve waded through the Oakland and Alameda Restaurant Week menus to point out some of the best and most interesting menus. (Note: Not all participating restaurants have posted menus online as of press time, especially for Alameda Restaurant Week). Stay tuned as we’ll have our top picks for Berkeley Restaurant Week for you too.
Participating Alameda restaurants offer prix-fixe lunches and/or prix fixe dinners.
ANGELA’S KITCHEN Chef Saboor Zafari serves a modern take on traditional Afghani food at Angela’s Kitchen. For Restaurant Week, Zafari is offering a $28 prix fixe dinner that features a Caesar salad, a lime chicken entree and a rose water, cardamom, raspberry panna cotta. Angela’s Kitchen, 1640 Park St. (at between Buena Vista and Pacific), Alameda
CAFÉ JOLIE Neighborhood French restaurant Café Jolie is known for its brunch, so it’s no surprise it’s offering both brunch and dinner deals. For $29, the brunch prix fixe comes with your choice of beverage (coffee, tea or soda), a main dish (crab cake benedict, mushroom omelet, cinnamon challah French toast or Monte Cristo) and an order of beignets. The dinner deal is three courses for $40, and features a choice of main entrees like steak frites, Cornish hen or rack of lamb. Café Jolie, 1500 Webster St. (near Santa Clara), Alameda
EAST END Wood-fire pizza restaurant East End is offering a $20 lunch and $25, $30, and $45 dinner deals for Alameda Restaurant Week. If pizza is your thing, the lower-end options will do you right, but if you’re looking for something beyond a pie, we recommend the $45 dinner deal. The four course meals starts with a choice of soup or salad, then continues with a starter of spicy tuna tartare, a main course of free-pastured rib eye steak and ends with a dessert. East End, 1650 Park St. (at Buena Vista), Alameda
HABANAS Alameda Cuban spot Habanas is offering a $10.95 prix fixe lunch or $25.95 prix fixe dinner. The lunch deal starts with a choice of appetizer (salad, soup, empanada, shrimp tacos or yucca rellena); a main dish (Cuban sandwich, picadillo Cubano, pan-seared salmon or pasta) and dessert (choose between four different cakes). For $5 extra, you can get a traditional mojito to enjoy with your meal. Habanas, 1518 Park St. (at Webb), Alameda
MAMA PAPA LITHUANIA This family-style Lithuanian restaurant features dishes from the Baltic, Eastern and Central Europe. For Alameda Restaurant Week, Mama Papa Lithuania has two choices for a $15 prix fixe dinner. Both meals start with a soup — cabbage and vegetable or green pea and vegetable with bacon. The second courses are stuffed bell peppers or pan fried veal rolls. And the desserts are either a poppy seed cake or tinginys, a Lithuanian chocolate dessert that’s also called “lazy pie.” Mama Papa Lithuania, 1241 Park St. (at San Antonio), Alameda
Participating Oakland restaurants will offer prix fixe lunch and/or dinner menus at $10, $20, $30, $40 and $50 price points.
ALAMAR KITCHEN & BAR If you’re an avid watcher of “Check, Please! Bay Area,” you’ll be excited about the one-night pop-up event at AlaMar Kitchen & Bar featuring the show’s bubbly host, Leslie Sbrocco, who will be joined by a radio food show host, Liam Mayclem of “The Food Chappie.” Sample hors d’oeuvres prepared by chef Nelson German, which will be paired with local wine and spirits. The event takes place from 6-9 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 16. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased on Eventbrite. AlaMar Kitchen & Bar, 100 Grand Ave. (near Valdez), Oakland
BIRD AND BUFFALO This brand new Thai spot just opened in Temescal on Monday, Jan. 8, so this could be a great chance for diners to get to know its menu offerings in one sitting. For $20, you’ll get a party tray, which comes with a choice of grilled half chicken or grilled pork spareribs, choice between two types of papaya salad (tum thai or tum lao) and finally, a choice between five different types of larb, made with chicken, grilled beef short ribs, pork jowl, crispy catfish or tofu and mushrooms. This is a great deal, as most entrees are $10 to $14 for just one item. Bird and Buffalo, 4659 Telegraph Ave. (at 46th), Oakland
BROTZEIT LOKAL If you’re a fan of hearty German fare, you’ll want to check out the deals at Brotzeit Lokal in Jack London Square, where they’re offering lunch and dinner meals, from $10 to $40 during Restaurant Week. Most intriguing to us was the $40 dinner, which comes with a flight of four beers, an appetizer, a mixed baby greens salad, a whole braised pork shank served with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut and a choice of dessert. For $20 more, you can add a second flight, another salad and dessert to make this a dinner for two. Brotzeit Lokal, 1000 Embarcadero, Oakland
BURMA SUPERSTAR For $50, Burma Superstar offers a stellar lunch or dinner for two that will include its famous tea leaf salad, shan noodles with chicken, pork belly with mustard greens, coconut rice, and a choice of beverages, either Burma ales, one bottle of nigori sake or two mango tamarind spritzers. Burma Superstar, 4721 Telegraph Ave. (at 48th), Oakland
CAFÉ 15 In Downtown Oakland, Café 15 is offering a $30 lunch deal that feed two people (and saves you a total of $13, compared to ordering off the regular menu). You’ll get one starter (choose between hand cut french fries or crispy Brussels sprouts) and two entrees (choice of fried chicken sandwich, Tofu Buddha Bowl, or large Café 15 salad), two house-brewed iced teas and one dessert (hot chocolate bread pudding). Café 15, 597 15th St. (at Jefferson), Oakland
CLOVE & HOOF The all-day $20 deal at Clove & Hoof is a meaty steal you don’t want to miss. You’ll get its signature cheesesteak, loaded with sirloin, onion confit, grilled mushrooms, turnips and warm beer cheese fondue (!) on a hero roll; an order of their hand-cut beef tallow fries; a chocolate chip cookie and a special drink just for Restaurant Week diners — rosemary meyer lemonade. Clove & Hoof, 4001 Broadway (at 40th), Oakland
DOÑA TOMÁS If burritos are what you’re craving, you’ll want to stop by Doña Tomás for lunch, where they’ll have a $10 lunch deal during Restaurant Week, which gets you a burrito (choice of meat or veg) and an agua fresca or soda. For dinner, a $30 prix fixe menu includes a first course of a quesadilla filled with delicata squash, herbs, ricotta cheese and arbol chile salsa; a second course of carnitas or chile rellenos; and a flourless chocolate cake for dessert. Doña Tomas, 5004 Telegraph Ave. (between 49th and 51st), Oakland
HOPSCOTCH Kyle Itani’s American diner with a Japanese twist, Hopscotch, is offering four lunch, brunch and dinner deals during Restaurant Week. Our favorite is the $30 three-course lunch deal. Diner choose between kakiage (deep fried vegetable tempura), little green salad or American Wagyu beef tartare for the first course; soba rigatoni, Thistle Meats sausage and lentil cassoulet, buttermilk fried chicken or Hopscotch’s famous First Base Burger for the second course; and donuts & butterscotch cream or blood orange sorbet and vanilla meringue for dessert. After meal nap may be required. Hopscotch, 1915 San Pablo Ave. (near Jefferson), Oakland
ITANI RAMEN Kyle Itani’s other restaurant, his namesake ramen/izakaya spot is also offering several deals. We are most enticed by the $30 menu, which is available for both lunch and dinner. You’ll get any ramen, five gyoza potstickers, a salad and your choice of beer, sake or highball cocktail. Kanpai! Itani Ramen, 1736 Telegraph Ave. (at 18th), Oakland
JULIE’S The Temescal location of Julie’s is offering a couple of deals during restaurant week, including a three-course lunch with a beverage for $20 lunch and a $10 brunch, available on Saturday and Sunday. The brunch comes with a cup of coffee or tea, and choice of French toast with brûléed banana and oat-coconut crumble or a fried egg sandwich with smoked ham, cheddar, arugula-walnut pesto and onion jam with a spring mix salad. Julie’s, 4316 Telegraph (at 43rd), Oakland
THE KEBABERY One of our favorite dining spots that opened last year is The Kebabery, which offers Mediterranean-inspired fare through a California lens. It’s run by the Camino folks, so if you’re a Camino fan, you might recognize some of the people and dishes — especially the pickles — at this Longfellow neighborhood joint. For Oakland Restaurant Week, The Kebabery is offering a special $20 dinner menu that gives you a taste of its menu at a $5 discount. You’ll get one kebab plate, which comes with your choice of chicken, lamb or trumpet mushroom kebab, two small salads, a dollop of yogurt, spicy pickled chiles, fresh herbs and a choice of homemade grilled flatbread or mashed red lentils; plus one order of crispy shoestring fries and a cup of decadent chocolate pudding to end your meal. The Kebabery, 4201 Market St. (at 42nd), Oakland
LOCAL FOOD ADVENTURES Lauren Herpich’s Local Food Adventures is offering two Oakland neighborhood guided food tours during Restaurant Week. The Rockridge tour is three hours and hits six different places; the Grand Lake option is two hours with four stops. Both include food samples and demonstrations, a history of the neighborhood and a tasting guide with a map and discounts for the next time you visit the area. Guests who book online and use the code “ORW18” will get a 20% discount. Find out more detail on the Local Food Adventures website.
LUKA’S TAPROOM Over in Downtown Oakland, Luka’s is partnering with Trumer Pilsner to serve up “Happy Meals” for $15 during Restaurant Week. These will include two chuck/sirloin sliders with aged cheddar, a side of Luka’s Belgian fries with dipping sauces, a side green salad, a chocolate chip cookie, and one pint of Trumer in a special glass that you get to take home. Luka’s Taproom, 2221 Broadway (at West Grand), Oakland
MOCKINGBIRD Another Downtown spot that’s offering a killer deal is Mockingbird. For $40, you’ll get a four course meal with a choice of Mockingbird’s favorite dishes. First course is a choice of the soup of the day or a winter fruit and baby kale salad; second course is either Mockingbird’s famous fried Brussels sprouts or equally loved duck liver mousse; the third course is a choice of Moroccan spiced chicken, overnight pork sugo or winter vegetable tagine; and the dessert is between bread pudding or citrus almond flour cake. Mockingbird, 416 13th St. (between Broadway and Franklin), Oakland
NAVI KITCHEN OK, Navi Kitchen is technically in neighboring Emeryville, but we’re going to let that slide as we’re big fans of this little neighborhood gem run by Preeti Mistry, and, as you probably know, her Oakland restaurant, Juhu Beach Club, just closed. Plus, the Oakland Restaurant Week deal here is a good one. For $10, at either lunch or dinner, diners will get a 14-inch pizza (limit two pizzas per customer, per day). There are four pizzas to choose from, so you may just have to come back a couple of times during Restaurant Week to try them all. Navi Kitchen, 5000 Adeline St. (at 47th), Emeryville
NIDO Mezcal enthusiasts will want to head to Nido in Jack London Square, where they’ll be offering a three-course dinner ($30) with an optional mezcal pairing (an additional $18, if you go this route). Also, if you’re a regular Nido diner, you’ll notice that the dishes offered during Restaurant Week are all brand new. The meal starts with a citrus salad, but for the second course, diners will choose between three options: pork ribs confit in chile morita entomatada sauce; tortillas stuffed with vegetables, black beans and duck leg confit; or a vegetarian dish made with roasted butternut squash, fennel, Brussels sprouts, sunchokes, peppers and more with queso panela and salsa. The meal ends with a tangelo panna cotta. Nido, 444 Oak St. (between Fourth and Fifth), Oakland
PARLOUR California-Italian restaurant Parlour has both a lunch and dinner deal, for $20 and $40 respectively. At lunch, you’ll get three courses. The first course is a choice of either the soup of the day or an arugula salad; the second course is either ricotta gnudi (buttery, cheesy dumplings) or rock cod; and dessert is either vanilla panna cotta or persimmon sorbet. The dinner pairing is also three courses, but comes with a few different options and a complimentary wine pairing. Parlour, 357 19th St. (at Webster), Oakland
SOI 4 BANGKOK EATERY Rockridge Thai restaurant Soi 4 is offering a $3o dinner prix fixe menu, featuring a choice of a small plate (either yellowtail crudo or pan-fried chive cake), a main course (Southern Thai-style fried chicken or salt-roasted Kauai shrimp) and a dessert (mango panna cotta or tapioca rubies, water chestnuts and fruit in coconut milk). Soi 4, 5421 College Ave. (at Kales), Oakland
THE TRAPPIST Most local beer lovers already know the treasure that is Old Oakland’s specialty beer bar, The Trappist, but did you know they make some really good food, too? Here’s your chance to give it a try, while knocking back some great brews, too. For $20, The Trappist will serve chef Lorraine’s chicken pot pie and a side salad, paired with a bottle of De Ranke XX Bitter, a hoppy Belgian golden ale from a small batch brewery in West Flanders, Belgium. The Trappist, 460 Eighth St. (at Broadway), Oakland